The day started with a prejudice mainly due to the German beer, or lack there of. One of life’s great problems is the shortcomings we discover in the aftermath of a night of drinking. For instance, having too much beer and too little water, on a day that most Europeans would agree was unnaturally hot. Though yesterday only played a part in today’s exasperation – the catalyst was the train ride.
Most people would find the prospect of riding first class in a private cabin, with shower and toilet, overnight on a train through the German countryside to be quite exciting. In most instances it should be. Much to my dismay, this was not one of those times.
The room, spacious enough, lacked a small and subtle feature that is often overlooked: airflow. Unlike planes, the city bus I took to Nuremberg, and the original two trains I’ve already been on – where I sat in a seat – this cabin had no vents and knobs to direct cold air into the room. If it did, I couldn’t find it and that isn’t for lack of trying. I pushed, pulled, prodded, and poked every surface in my cabin. No luck; no air.
Mercifully the train Gods took pity on me and had given me the ability to crack the top three inches of my window open by about 30 degrees, allowing air to somewhat flow in at the expense of removing the almost disturbingly quiet train ride.
Noise in itself doesn’t keep me awake, or wake me up unless I let it – but as more and more beer left my system, the more intrusive the sound was.
I awoke after only five hours of sleep to what I could only describe as a motor boat powering through choppy water. That ‘forty-foot speed boat leaving the surface and coming back down like an orca ten times a second’ sound. Yes.
To make matters worse, the sun had started to rise – only it was rising directly, and appropriately, in the middle of my window. I don’t believe the train couldn’t go more perfectly north if it tried. That sun stayed obtrusively, and blindingly, in my window. It didn’t take long for the ill effects of the sound of the air and the brightest sunrise in the history of mankind to make me wish I was Helen Keller.
That’s when the thirst kicked in. Hell hath no fury like the drought stricken mouth of wretched consumers of good German beer. My mouth was the Sahara Desert. For all I knew, I could have been living in salt at the time. Moisture was, at best, a concept imagined by children. I drained every last bottle I had including the additional two I bought from the train-folk at a price comparable to that which you would pay in Disneyland.
I rue the day I drink German beer again without the foresight to make sure I’ve secured at least enough water in reserves as the State of California, as to provide me some kind of relief the morning after.
As I type this, I am with cup of tea in hand, sitting still in my cabin as we approach Amsterdam. In a way, I am grateful for this perpetual state of morning agony. The countryside passes me by in a blur of warming colors; olive green, rustic rouge, and that all to familiar glimmer of gold. This is the Netherlands. Arriving even slightly the bit belligerent will probably prove to be advantageous to me overall as it will at least hinder my ability to fall in love with Amsterdam – or postpone the inevitable by a few hours.
It’s true. I fall in love easy. It’s hard when you care about people and the world. The heart I wear on my wrist is a feeling-detector (think metal detector) that allows me to pick up on things that, I believe, most people overlook. Though therein lies my kryptonite. That which empowers me is more often than naught the source of my own undoing.
So as this train arrives, and my hangover lessens, I will proceed to Amsterdam with caution.
The land of Absinthe-tini’s, street-vended pot brownies, romantic canals, and Anne Frank, awaits me.
God forbid I find any more German beer here, let alone good company to coerce me into another liter. Or two. Or three.
Part two of Amsterdam will come later. Cheers.